3 Awesome Final Draft Software Tricks Direct From an Insider.

Improve your writing experience using Final Draft.

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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenwriting Software
October 21, 2014 12 comments
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3 awesome Final Draft software tricks we learned from an insider.

(The following is a guest post by Rebecca Norris, screenwriter and former lead technician on Final Draft software.)

When I used to work for Final Draft, I received many calls from frustrated screenwriters complaining that it was taking them too long to type and revise their scripts. But most of the time they simply weren’t using the program as efficiently as they could have been…

So, here are three quick tricks to help you type and revise your scripts and make writing with Final Draft software that much easier.

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Final Draft software trick #1: rebuild your smart type. 

Within the Final Draft software program, every time you type in a name in the Character element or type a new Scene Heading, it’s added to your SmartType, the auto-fill function in Final Draft that remembers them for you.

But if you’ve changed a character name, or eliminated a location, it can be annoying to see that name or location continue to show up as you type.

To remedy this, go to Document > SmartType and look through your Character and Location lists. You’ll probably see old information from previous drafts.

Press the Rebuild button to update the SmartType to reflect what’s currently happening in your script.

Rebuilding your SmartType every so often also helps keep your .fdx file healthy. Sometimes odd lines of text slip into the SmartType if they were incorrectly labeled while writing (ie. a random line of Action labeled as a Scene Heading.)

Too many of these incorrect entries within Final Draft software can bog down your SmartType and possibly contribute to your file behaving strangely or crashing.

Final Draft software Trick #2: use the element pop-up menu. 

For some people who are newer to using Final Draft software, they find it takes them forever to type a script because they use the mouse to go down (in Mac) or up (in Windows) to the toolbar to change the element manually each time as they write.

There’s no need to do this.

Simply press Return (Enter) twice to bring up the Element pop-up menu, and you can type the first letter of the element you want (ie. “S” for Scene Heading, “A” for Action.) No need to take your hands off the keyboard at all.

Final Draft trick #3: use the reformat tool. 

Sometimes I got calls from assistant directors ready to pull their hair out because the elements had been labeled incorrectly during the writing process.

If you need to go through your script and re-label incorrectly labeled elements, you can go to Tools > Reformat to do this easily.

This Final Draft pro tool will highlight every line for you and bring up a box where you can click what the element should be labeled as. Then hit Next to go to the following one, until you’ve gone through the script.

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Do you have any other Final Draft tricks and tips you think our readers should know about? What things bug you about screenwriting using Final Draft software? Let us know in the comments section below!

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